Professor Peter Styles reports on the relationship between fracking and historic coal mining

Peter Styles Professor Emeritus of Geophysics, Peter Styles has compiled a report on fracking and its relationship to historic coal mining which has been delivered to Parliament as an Early-Day Motion and which he presented in the House of Lords Committees yesterday (22/5/2018) on the potential difficulties in carrying out shale gas exploration, particularly fracking, beneath previously mined areas. He points out that even small faults ( some 20 to 50 metres long) have the potential to cause small earthquakes which would nevertheless trigger the Seismic Traffic Light System threshold of 0.5ML and halt fracking. These faults cannot be seen from surface seismic reflection surveying but can be seen on the maps of the underground structures produced by NCB surveyors during mining.
He calls for consideration of these to become incorporated as an essential part of the planning process, especially as many of the areas highlighted by BGS as prospective for shale gas are actually beneath areas of historic coal mining.  This coal extraction and the associated subsidence has already caused mining-induced seismicity larger than that recorded during the Cuadrilla activity in 2011 where earthquakes of magnitude 2.3ML and 1.5 ML led to a significant UK moratorium on shale gas exploration which has only just recommenced.

The report was highlighted in the following article in the Independent and can be downloaded here, with the full report available here as Fracking and Mining - Styles 2018 (17 Mb download).



Accreditation logo for Geological Society Accreditation logo for IEMA Accreditation logo for IES Accreditation logo for RGS Accreditation logo for Athena Swan Bronze

*Accreditation is dependent on the degree route and modules taken